Litigant Pro Se Support

Trial courts, especially limited jurisdiction and family courts, have an increasingly large number of persons who are either unable to afford a lawyer or who choose not to hire counsel to represent them. These citizens desire and need detailed information and assistance with the tasks of handling their affairs on a pro se basis. Their requests constitute a major demand upon the resources of the courts and consume the time of both clerks and judges as they try to address pro se litigant needs.

Having a location in the courthouse where pro se individuals may find and study information on the judicial process and the legal issues surrounding their case is a benefit to both the pro se litigants as well as the court. The inclusion of such a space is usually best located near or within the clerk’s office. It should be readily accessible from the main public corridor. It should be furnished with work tables, public access terminals, court forms, and instructions. It should be viewable from the clerk's office so that the deputy clerks may monitor its use. An alternate location is the law library, if one is provided in the courthouse. Some courts may choose to provide staff support to this activity in which case provision needs to be made for staff office/workstations and other staff support functions.

The room or space should be consistent with the image provided by the clerk's office.

The rooms/area should be quiet, comfortable, and conducive to study and research.

All areas of the pro se areas should be accessible to persons with disabilities.

The pro se support area should be located near or within the court clerk's office. An alternative location may be the law library if it is in an easily accessible area of the courthouse for the public.

The pro se support area should be located off the main public corridor and be easily accessible to the public.

The area should be monitored but no special security arrangements are required.

The room should be furnished with work tables, chairs, book cases or racks for reading and reference materials, public access computer terminals, and a photocopier.

The room or space needs to have public access computers and printers. Worktables should have access to electrical outlets and internet connectivity.